The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is joining a state-wide effort this month to promote highway safety through the "Click It or Ticket" seat belt enforcement campaign.
As summer sits on the horizon and temperatures begin to rise, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office reminded the community Tuesday of the importance of properly used seat belts. Running from May 15 through Memorial Day, the department will join the Governor's Office of Highway Safety with the end goal of “saving lives in the event of a traffic crash” by sharing the benefits of driving with care.
Georgia law requires front-seat passengers to always wear a seat belt, all children between eight and 15 to buckle up and for children ages seven and under to ride in a child safety seat that corresponds to the appropriate height and weight of the child according to the seat manufacturer.
“Our deputies see too many people who were not wearing seat belts be seriously injured or even die in traffic crashes, and that is why these same deputies enforce Georgia’s seat belt law every day,” Deputy First Class Loucks said in a release. “The more people who choose to wear a seat belt means fewer families we have to notify that a loved one has been killed or seriously injured in a traffic crash.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports approximately 1,786 people died in vehicle crashes in Georgia in 2022, which is a 20 percent increase over five years when the reported traffic fatality figure was 1,505 in 2018. The total number of traffic deaths in the United States in 2022 was estimated at 42,795.
56 percent of people killed in passenger vehicle wrecks in Georgia in 2021 were not wearing seat belts, according to officials. That number has increased by 20 percent over a five-year period as well, from 2017 to 2021.
Seat belts are the most effective piece of safety equipment in a car, Forsyth County officials report. Additionally, airbags are designed to work based on the person driving or riding wearing their seat belt. The NHTSA says a passenger can minimize the risk of death in a wreck by 45 percent when wearing a seat belt.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in coordination with Forsyth County offered several tips to promote safe driving:
- Drive at safe and reasonable speeds and don’t speed to make up time.
- Put your seat belt on before starting your vehicle.
- Avoid distractions like phones, conversations and reaching for items in your car.
- Program navigation devices before driving.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
This initiative follows an announcement by Gwinnett County of their new “Operation Whiskey Charlie” initiative set to run from May 19 to May 20. Gwinnett County officers will target speeding, drunk driving, aggressive driving and other related traffic offenses with more vigilance during that time with the hope of promoting road safety ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.